The best hope for the prevention of schizophrenia lies with indicated preventive interventions targeted at individuals manifesting precursor signs and symptoms who have not yet met full criteria for diagnosis. The identification of individuals at this early stage, coupled with psychosocial interventions like psycho education and cognitive therapy have shown to be very hopeful in preventing a psychotic disorder. These early intervention programs for patients with an at risk mental state for psychosis become part of the continuum of regular mental health care services. In Friesland an early intervention programme is implemented since 2008.
Earlier research showed patients with an at risk mental state, who have problems with social and role functioning, to have an increased risk of transition to psychosis (Cannon, 1999; Addington 2008) and vice versa, patients with an at risk mental state who developed a psychosis had higher dropout rates at school and work (Cornblatt, 2010). Therefore, interventions aimed at social functioning and role functioning skills are of great importance in late adolescence and early adulthood (Yung, 1996).
With our Randomized Controlled Trial we wanted to find out whether an intervention developed to prevent dropping out of school or work, i.e. Supported Education and Supported Employment, prevents young patients with an at risk mental state to drop out of school or work. Secondly, we wanted to know whether this intervention prevents patients to become psychotic.
First results will be presented.
Roeline Nieboer, Nynke Boonstra, Aaltsje Malda, Margriet Oosterkamp, & Mirjam Koree, Friesland Mental Health Care services. The authors work at Friesland mental health care services, at the First Episode Psychosis team as psychologists, nurse practicioner and as counselors.